Lockergnome: MWSF – Best of Show – Griffin’s SmartDeck (Hardware). While I don’t know if an iPod cassette adapter is what I’d normally consider as a candidate for “best in show” at MacWorld, this one is making me think twice. By communicating the state of the cassette deck (paused, fast forward, etc.) back to the iPod, you can use the cassette controls instead of the iPod controls. Which is brilliant, because it basically does an end-around all the expensive car head unit integration products to allow you to do the same thing—use the buttons on your steering wheel (or the console) to control your iPod’s playback rather than taking your eyes off the road to fast forward.
The one advantage a head unit integration package has, of course, is that it uses a direct line into the stereo and doesn’t have the mechanical aspects of a cassette adapter, meaning no squeak. The adapter in my car has developed a grinding squeak that drives my passengers crazy. Mine isn’t the only adapter with the problem either.